The term “rubbernecker” is usually used when talking about car crashes. It refers to the drivers who can’t help but look at the carnage left from an earlier car crash, “craning their neck to get a better view” (Wikipedia). It’s human nature; we all do it. There’s usually nothing to see, but you get the urge to look anyway. It’s our morbid curiosity.
Rubbernecking can also refer to watching TV. You know what kind of show I’m talking about. It’s not good, it’s definitely not funny…yet you can’t help but watch. These aren’t guilty pleasures, but people usually enjoy guilty pleasures. These shows just exist to satisfy our morbid curiosity, because we can’t help but tune in. Every time it’s on TV.
Two shows stand out in my mind as being a) not funny, and b) highly addicting. Let’s discuss.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch
This show was on from 1996-2003. Now before we go any further, let’s take a look at that number for a second. Seven years. SEVEN YEARS. That’s four years longer than Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, and My So-Called Life COMBINED. And that’s INSANE.
Anyway, you probably know the story. Sabrina, a high school girl played by Clarissa Explains It All, discovers not only that she can’t and shouldn’t dance in the opening sequence of the show, but that she’s a witch and lives with her two evil witch aunts.
Okay, well the aunts aren’t really evil. They’re just really annoying, which in a way makes them evil. Sabrina lives in Boston, of course, because that’s where all the witches live, and has a boyfriend named Harvey, who would probably be cute if he wasn’t such a doofus.
Sabrina also has a cat named Salem who – get this – freaking talks. But he only talks because he’s actually a 500-year-old warlock who was sentenced to be a talking cat. The show often played the laugh track after every time Salem spoke because he was always some kind of witty pun or snarky one-liner. They weren’t funny, which is why they needed the laugh track, because they knew they needed to make the viewer think the line was funny.
After Sabrina graduated from high school, the show followed her to college, where she ditched her old friends and got new ones, like Punky Brewster and that mean girl from Clueless who wore the designer imposter body spray.
Suddenly Sabrina was supposed to be cooler because she lived in a house with roommates and no more aunts. Well, she still wasn’t cool, still couldn’t dance, and couldn’t hold a candle to Punky Brewster, whose talent was unfortunately wasted on this show. She also got a new boyfriend, who used to be Blossom’s boyfriend, but he left her to go to Prague. Where apparently there are no witches, only vampires.
What I Like About You
This quirky show was on from 2002-2006. AGAIN, that’s one year longer than the aforementioned shows COMBINED. It starred Kelly Taylor from Beverly Hills, 90210 and Nickelodeon comic genius, Amanda Bynes. They played sisters on the show – Kelly Taylor as the older, wiser, OCD freak, and Amanda Bynes as the younger, obnoxious delinquent.
The show was set in New York where the two girls lived in Kelly Taylor’s GIGANTIC apartment. I’m sure she was only paying $500 a month for that, right? Because I heard rent in NYC is super low and the spaces are huge.
Kelly Taylor worked at PR firm until she got fired, and then she was unemployed for awhile, and then finally decided to open a cupcake shop with her annoying bestie Lauren. Amanda Bynes worked at like fifty different places, but because she’s so clumsy and quirky and adorable, she couldn’t hold a job to save her life. She would rather hang out at the The Max (oh wait, that’s Saved by the Bell) with her obnoxious friends and wear really tight clothes than be RESPONSIBLE.
Amanda Bynes had two boyfriends on the show, Henry and Vince, and sometimes both at the same time. Of the two Henry was most interesting because he was actually smart and nice, as opposed to lady-player Vince who delivered packages on his bike and was supposed to be hot. Of course Amanda Bynes dumped Henry for Vince because nice guys always finish last.
It was hard to get the 90210 Kelly Taylor out of my head every time Kelly Taylor was on screen. I kept expecting her to be a selfish bitch with a drug addiction, when in fact she was just a stressed out, neurotic cupcake maker who couldn’t hold a relationship. She dated a chef, a fireman, and an old high-school flame who was already getting married to someone else. Oh, snap!
So here’s where the rubbernecking comes in. I can’t NOT watch these shows. Seriously…every time they’re on, I watch them. I think there was a time post-baby when I actually had What I Like About You set as as season pass on my TiVo. I’ve seen every episode of these shows at least three times, and while I don’t think think these shows are very good at all, I need to watch them. I’m driving on the freeway and see remnants of a car crash, I slow down a bit to take a look. I’m flipping through the channels and see that Sabrina is on?
You best know that I will stop flipping and watch the damn show. Just not during the opening sequence. Because I just can’t stand to watch Clarissa dance.